January 26th, 2012 News Thursday: Dell vStart 200m, System Center Advisor Release, and more Server and Tools News…

by STB Blogger

Microsoft and Dell Help Customers Move from Virtualization to Private Cloud Computing
Yesterday, Microsoft and Dell announced Dell vStart 200m, another solution from the companies’ three-year initiative to help customers deploy and manage virtualization and private cloud technologies.  The pre-built appliance brings together the best of Dell and Microsoft technology to give customers virtualization, simply and at scale.

Dell vStart 200m is Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track validated which means customers can quickly move from virtualization to private cloud computing by adding Microsoft System Center.  The solution is built on Microsoft Hyper-V and Windows Server 2008 R2 DataCenter Edition, including unlimited virtualization rights, helping customers benefit from the economics of the Microsoft private cloud.  Dell vStart 100m, built on Microsoft Hyper-V is also available today.  Customers in North America and Brazil can get started now.  Availability in additional countries will be announced at a later date.

Microsoft is also announcing improved integration between Dell AIM and Microsoft System Center – giving customers deep management insight across infrastructure, operating systems and applications, and providing a simplified, integrated management experience.

Check out Dell’s blog to hear more about this announcement.  Customers can learn more about these solutions by visiting dell.com/vstart and dell.com/aim.

Microsoft System Center Advisor Released Today
Today’s IT professionals spend an enormous amount of time and effort addressing problems related to incorrectly configured servers.  To help combat this challenge, Microsoft is pleased to announce the general availability of System Center Advisor (formerly Microsoft codename ‘Atlanta’), a cloud service hosted on Windows Azure that assesses customers’ servers to enable IT professionals to proactively avoid unpatched, misconfigured or unsupported configuration problems that could result in a performance degradation or unplanned outage.

Last week Microsoft made important announcements about how System Center 2012 delivers the Microsoft private cloud, including availability of the Release Candidate and dramatically simplified licensing.  System Center Advisor complements this by helping to keep private cloud workloads healthy. Windows Server and SQL Server are the first workloads to be supported by System Center Advisor.

System Center Advisor helps customers resolve issues faster with the ability for support staff to access current and historical configuration data for their deployment.  Additionally, System Center Advisor reduces downtime by providing suggestions for improvement, and notifying customers of key updates specific to their configuration.

System Center Advisor is available as an added benefit of Software Assurance for SQL Server or Windows Server in 26 countries.

To learn more about System Center Advisor, please visit the Microsoft Server and Cloud Platform blog.

Scott Guthrie Gives Keynote at Node Summit
The Node Summit was a two day conference held on January 24th and 25th in San Francisco, bringing together business leaders and technology experts to discuss Node.js’ transformative role in the future of computing. Scott Guthrie participated in a panel as well as gave a keynote, where he discussed Microsoft’s recent adoption of Node.js and its commitment to the ongoing development of Windows Azure within the open source community.  Scott addressed a captivated audience while using Cloud9 IDE to demo Windows Azure, using a Mac.

Visit the Windows Azure and Cloud9 blogs for additional information.

Join us for the Virtual Launch of SQL Server 2012
On March 7, 2012, Microsoft is hosting the SQL Server 2012 Virtual Launch Event (VLE). Ted Kummert, corporate vice president, Business Platform Division, and Quentin Clark, corporate vice president, Database Systems Group, will keynote, sharing the latest on SQL Server 2012 and the evolution of the Microsoft data platform. Following the keynote, attendees will learn more about features and functionalities of SQL Server 2012 through “meeting” product experts, stories from partners and pioneer customers, and self-service access to more than 30 informational sessions.

For more information about the VLE or to register, visit the blog post or the SQL Server 2012 Launch page.

The Co-operative Group saves millions in switch from Oracle to SQL Server
UK-based The Co-operative Group, operator of 5,000 retail stores and one of the world’s largest member-owned businesses, recently turned to SQL Server 2008 R2 in order to achieve an aggressive membership growth goal: 20 million members by 2020. The company’s previous membership system – an Oracle solution, hosted by a provider that charged per member – would have cost the company tens of millions of dollars. Instead, the company went with SQL Server, which will allow them to reach 20 million members for 10 percent of what their Oracle solution would have cost.

In addition to the projected cost savings for growth, The Co-operative Group has improved member services and increased the security of customer information, as well as freeing up the company’s IT department to drive business innovation instead of being forced to manage reports and queries.

For more information about how The Co-operative Group is using SQL Server, visit the blog post or read the full case study on the Microsoft Case Studies page.

States Choose Cloud-based Ballots for Voters Around the Globe 
Democracy Live is one of the nation’s leading technology firms focused on delivering innovative eBalloting products to each of the 200 million eligible voters in the U.S.   On January 23 they announced deployment on Windows Azure and delivered the first ballots of the 2012 Presidential Primary via a one-stop web portal, allowing overseas voters to access their ballots online. 

  • Since voting began, over 1,200 Florida voters from 40 countries have accessed their ballot using LiveBallot
  • New Hampshire voters weren’t the first to cast their 2012 primary ballots – Florida residents voted first, because they used LiveBallot and got their ballots in using the cloud!
  • Virginia and California are on deck to also use LiveBallot

Visit Democracy Live and FutureFed for additional details.